The Deir Yassin Remembered Blog

Report on Beth Israel vigil 03-05-11

Posted on March 13th, 2011 at 11:19 am by

JWPF Invites City Council to Forum

Vigiler S took to the podium last Monday to invite Ann Arbor City Council members to our Open Forum on March 29th. From Thursday’s Ann Arbor Chronicle we read:

S told the council he’d been working a long time against the genocide of the Palestinian people, which he said began in 1948. He allowed that here locally, it’s difficult to have an impact on the issue. However, he noted that the mayor and councilmembers often attend an annual fundraiser held by the Jewish Federation, which he said helps fund the continued genocide of the Palestinian people.

He also noted that he was a member of an organization that had been the subject of a city council resolution that had condemned that organization’s activities. [The group to which S was referring demonstrates every Saturday outside a local synagogue, holding signs that typically call for actions like divestment of U.S. funds from Israel.]

When members of his group had addressed the council, councilmembers did not listen, he said, but instead worked on their computers.

On one occasion, a councilmember had turned their back on the speaker. [The councilmember S meant was Joan Lowenstein, who no longer serves on the council. She had swiveled her chair around during the public commentary.] His group had asked for the city’s human rights commission to pass a resolution, but subsequently, that commission had been reorganized, he said.

S concluded by inviting the mayor and the council to attend a presentation on March 29, at 7 p.m. at the Mallets Creek Library.

JWPF Under Attack from Strange Quarters

In 2009-10, the Washtenaw Jewish News mounted a one-sided, unjournalistic campaign against our vigils, and this month’s issue represents no exception. In what appears to be an odd move, they quote Imam Dawud Walid as claiming “Synagogue protest ‘un-Islamic’“. We see this as odd, because as the Washtenaw Jewish News employs one Muslim voice to disparage our vigils, other prominent Jewish activists and groups have been slamming the Muslims with nary a peep from the News. There’s Pam Geller, David Horowitz, and Michigan’s own Debbie Schlussel.

Another prominent example that comes to mind is the wide dissemination of the Islamophobic film Obsession prior to the presidential elections of 2008. This DVD was provided to 20,000 members of the Republican Jewish Coalition (source: The Shalom Center) as well as distributed in countless newspapers in swing states. Even The Atlantic’s Jeffrey Goldberg – himself a former IDF soldier and guard at the infamous Etzion prison – writes “… high-level officials of Aish are up to their chins in this project.” Goldberg refers to the Jewish religious group Aish Ha Torah (Fire of the Torah), which boasts Starbucks’ CEO Howard Schultz as member. This writer can also attest from personal experience of a religious ceremony at an orthodox congregation where negative comments about Islam were heard from the pulpit. That Islam is often in the crosshairs of the Jewish dominated mainstream (and local, alternative) media comes as no surprise.

Our work is exposing and criticizing Zionism, especially Jewish Zionism, both right- and left-wing. We try not to be critical of other faiths. But when Dawud Walid makes remarks like the above, we are moved to ask our Muslim friends what is “Un-Islamic” about standing up for Muslim and Christian justice in an area of the world in which there is little? A handful expressed surprise that the Imam would make such a comment, since they can find nothing in their reading of the Koran or Hadith that supports the claim made. Indeed, these folks tell us that Islam encourages its adherents to speak up in cases of injustice … they are compelled to do so.

We remember trying to correct Mr. Walid’s impression of our vigils (see our vigil report of January 15) and hope that he makes the effort to visit our group on any Saturday, or that he attends our Forum.

CTN Announces our Forum

Vigiler T and this writer filmed a five-minute “Access Soapbox” at Ann Arbor’s Cable Television (CTN) studios this week. We used the occasion to announce our upcoming event. The show schedule for cable subscribers will be (this week and next):

Sunday 5:00 PM
Monday 6:30 PM
Tuesday 11:30 AM and 9:30 PM
Wednesday 10:30 AM and 6:30 PM
Thursday 7:30 PM
Friday 12:30 PM
Saturday 3:30 PM

Readers can verify this schedule on CTN’s website.


“Seven Years of Synagogue Vigils: Why We Still Do It”

Date: Tuesday, March 29, 2011
Time: 7:00 – 8:30PM
Place: Mallets Creek Branch, Ann Arbor District Library
3090 E. Eisenhower Parkway
Ann Arbor, MI 48104

Flyer here

Rain, wind, 32 degrees and eight vigilers
Henry Herskovitz
Jewish Witnesses for Peace and Friends
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2 Responses to “Report on Beth Israel vigil 03-05-11”

  1. Anonymous

    It is sickening that Imams are being recruited to condemn peaceful human rights vigils for the people of Palestine. What do they get out of that kind of behavior?

  2. Henry

    Perhaps they get a kind of acceptance, like Arab women in “dialogue” groups with Jewish women. Theses women talk about shared suffering, but not the meaty issue of Palestinian suffering at the hands of the Jewish state. The “interfaith” community might be providing the Imam with similar “in-group” feelings of acceptance. But the price he pays for this acceptance is becoming the same kind of gatekeeper that the rest of the interfaith community is. Rather than providing “tough love” towards their Jewish brethren, they fall all over themselves trying to please them.
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